EDUCATIONOPINIONS

Raila’s 10-point Manifesto has nothing for teachers

"Issues concerning teachers can be solved over a cup of tea at the Tin To Ler Hotel at Ndori, Bondo, Siaya County."

Raila’s 10-point Manifesto for the Kenyan teacher. This is shocking considering the high number of teachers in this country; literally, teachers are the backbone of the rural economy.

Raila Odinga commits in his first 100 days in office, that the – Azimio government – will “… ensure that all unemployed trained teachers shall be employed in order to improve the quality of education for our children” with Agenda 8 on “Waste not a Single Child” of Raila’s Manifesto stating “… deploy motivated teachers to deliver quality education…”

Whereas it’s commendable Raila acknowledges education needs to be “quality for our children” it’s laughable he thinks employing “all unemployed trained teachers” is the only means to achieve this.

The statistics 

These fancy promises mean nothing if you interrogate the statistics.

According to the Teachers Commission Service (TSC) 2019-2023 Strategic Plan launched in May 2022, the number of unemployed teachers is almost the same as those with jobs which stands at 317,069.

TSC boss Dr Nancy Macharia, speaking at Mitihani House in Nairobi during the release of the 2021 KCSE,  told the country the shortage of teachers currently stands at 114,581.

She also confirmed the National Treasury CS Ukur Yatani allocated Ksh.2.5 billion to TSC for the recruitment of 5,000 permanent teachers and Ksh.1.2 billion for the hiring of 6,000 of their intern counterparts.

So, the shortage is 114,581 teachers, but Raila intends to employ over 300, 000 – an excess of over 200, 000. This isn’t even ridiculous. The Treasury has allocated Ksh.2.5 billion to recruit 11,000 teachers, and by August 10 – when Raila is likely to be sworn as president, and for the first 100 days he plans to recruit all – 300,000 – teachers? Where will this money come from? Have in mind, other “outrageously ambitious” programmes in his Manifesto that are capital intensive.

Teachers’ problems overlooked

No one is talking about the plight of teachers in this country. By planning to radically employ over 300, 000 teachers in 100 days, Raila is saying more teachers should share the problems – maybe problems shared, half shared.

The teachers’ unions – KUPPET and KNUT – are barking dogs that can’t bite. The unions had long chosen to support Azimio la Umoja long before even Raila officially decided to vie.

With the overwhelming numbers, the unions couldn’t sign any deal with the presidential candidates for better terms of services.

Teachers’ concerns

Issues concerning teachers can be solved over a cup of tea at the Tin To Ler Hotel at Ndori, Bondo, Siaya County.

Teachers are crying about transfers. Many teachers have overstayed in one station, running to 20 years. This contributes to mental redundancy, and familiarity thus unproductivity.

Close to transfer is a python in the house called delocalisation. While the concept makes sense, it’s unfathomable how TSC intends to promote the national ethos and family values when one teacher is at Ochot Odong’, Kendu Bay and the spouse is working in Mandera.

Other concerns are promotions, funding for re-training, health insurance, understaffing, insecurity and hostility in their respective areas of work.

Any candidate who’s worth his salt should have the audacity to address the teachers’ plight head-on if they intend the realisation of ‘quality’ education.

Raila has nothing for teachers, and how he fails to have these in black and white is baffling and tells how teachers are ignored in this country’s critical decision-making.

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